This lovely pileated woodpecker was spotted in central Virden on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, working its way along a wooden fence apparently looking for something to eat. It was more recently seen and video taped in a backyard on Sixth Ave.
The pileated is the largest of the woodpeckers, up to 18" for males, the females slightly smaller. You can tell this one is a female because she’s lacking the bold red facial stripe of the male.
The species is usually found in the woods, especially among old, dead trees where they hammer out roosting hollows. But some have developed a taste for seeds and suet and will visit birdfeeders, which may be what enticed this one into Virden.
They're insect eaters mainly, and do us a big favour in the summer by eating carpenter ants, mosquitoes, flies and beetles.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says:
The pileated woodpecker is an essential and irreplaceable part of its ecosystem, and it is very important to maintain the habitat it requires. Dead wood resources must be conserved and new cavity trees must be produced so that this species is able to continue excavating nest holes, and so in turn provide habitats for other species.